Janice, Jan 2021

I was 14 when I started using meth and drinking alcohol. My dad was deported to Mexico when I was 10; I have not seen him since. My mom was an addict - still is. I was left to raise myself, so drinking and drugs became a way to escape. After my little sister was born with drugs in her system, we spent a year in foster care before going to live with my grandma. But my addiction and sexual promiscuity didn't stop. When I got pregnant, I wanted to change. I got sober, but fell right back into my addiction by the time my son was two. For years, we were homeless, sleeping in cars, motels, hanging out with the wrong people. I would drink, black out and not remember where I was. I was having sex, sometimes forcibly, with men I didn't know.

After many violent encounters with my son's father, I knew I had to get out. I entered Heritage House, a recovery program for women and children, but left after two days. I put myself back into a vicious cycle and before long, I was pregnant again. Having no where else to go, I returned to Heritage House. That's when God met me through NorthEast of the Well. At the very first Bible study, my mind began to shift - I began to see that change was possible. When NorthEast gifted me with a beautiful new Bible - another first! - I felt a ray of hope. 

For once in my life, I put my sons' needs ahead of my own and made the decision to place them in foster care while I began a journey of recovery. Even though giving them up was the hardest thing I'd ever done, NorthEast was there every step of the way. NorthEast would call, checking in, reminding me that God had a plan for us. In 2019, when I got baptized at NorthEast, I realized my life really HAD changed. From that moment forward, I made a promise to myself and publicly, to follow and live for Christ.

Today, my boys are back with me and we live at Eli House, a residential program for women and children. I am learning to be the mother they need and deserve; I even started my first job! NorthEast of the Well has been a lifeline for us - I am on Zoom every Monday evening for the NorthEast service. I love the worship - it feels like those songs were made for me! I want to be like the NorthEast women, setting an example of what's possible with God. Recently I was asked to write some scripture cards for NorthEast to hand out - I am blessed to serve, even in small ways. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer. 29:11) These are the words I live by.